David Heath, the co-founder and CEO of online sock company Bombas, was an entrepreneur early on. His advice? Focus on one product before branching out. Don’t copy your competition. And Heath, who meditates daily and brings his Jack Russell terrier named Cooper to work, emphasizes the importance of a healthy work culture.
Q. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
A. My dad is an entrepreneur. It was definitely in my blood. I was that kid with the lemonade stands. I used to walk to neighbors’ houses and offered to wash their cars. Really anything I could do to hustle. … I became a door-to-door knives salesman throughout college.
You learn everything from basic pitching to cold-calling. I found these skills to be incredibly helpful during the fundraising process. This time, instead of selling them a bunch of knives, I was asking them for a $50,000 check.
Q. What tips would you give business owners looking to raise money?
A. Make sure that your business pitch is super-simple and straightforward. In your first meeting, the objective is to almost sell them as if they were a customer. You want them to understand exactly what your product is or what your company does at the most simple level.
Q. What advice would you give your younger self?
A. Focus on one product. Sell it through one channel. Make sure that you do one thing incredibly well rather than doing a lot of things poorly.
Q. How do you view competition?
A. I believe the second you look around at what other people are doing, you start to react to what they’re doing rather than move forward to what you think you should be doing.
Q. What about your work culture?
A. Really talented people will always have a choice on where they want to work. So the onus is on us to keep them here.
You have to back it up by having a good culture, by having a supportive environment and realizing that life happens outside of work.
Family members die. Dogs go missing. Breakups happen. Take a personal day. Go work from home. Heal yourself. The world is not going to stop just because you take a day off.